The chang­ing land­scape of travel

Smart­phones are chang­ing the way trav­ellers plan, book and ex­e­cute their trips. These equip­ments have slowly and steadily grad­u­ated from com­mu­ni­ca­tion gadgets to travel ad­vi­sors and com­pan­ions.

TravTalk - India - - GUEST COLUMN - ( The views ex­pressed are solely of the au­thor. The pub­li­ca­tion may or may not sub­scribe to the same.) Nikhil Ganju Coun­try Man­ager TripAd­vi­sor India *Source: Re­port by In­ter­net and Mo­bile As­so­ci­a­tion of India (IAMAI) and KPMG

Mo­bile de­vices were once just pieces of equip­ment that helped us con­nect with oth­ers. To­day, they have be­come such an in­te­gral part of the way we live and breathe – not only do these pro­vide en­ter­tain­ment and an im­me­di­ate source of in­for­ma­tion, these have also changed the way we in­ter­act with peo­ple and the phys­i­cal en­vi­ron­ment. Un­sur­pris­ingly, this has meant that the way peo­ple travel has changed – trav­ellers are now able to dis­cover places they want to go to and in­ter­act with the world, be it be­fore, dur­ing or af­ter they have gone on their trips.

It is clear upon analysing plan­ning and book­ing trends on TripAd­vi­sor that mo­bile us­age con­tin­ues to rise and shape the fu­ture. In India, 60 per cent of In­ter­net users ac­cess it via their mo­bile phone* and as In­ter­net users in India con­tinue to grow, this is set to in­crease sub­stan­tially in the com­ing years. Those who use their smart­phone to plan or book their travel are the ones we call ‘Con­nected Trav­ellers’.

Cur­rently, 47 per cent of trav­ellers in India are 'Con­nected Trav­ellers.' This puts India in the 9th place glob­ally for the high­est pro­por­tion of trav­ellers who are en­abled by their mo­bile de­vices, leav­ing highly con­nected coun­tries like the United King­dom, Aus­tralia and Ja­pan trail­ing in this cat­e­gory.

And re­search shows us mo­bile Apps are be­com­ing a more pop­u­lar chan­nel for trav­ellers to book their ac­com­mo­da­tion – TripBaro me­ter re­search showed the num­ber of peo­ple us­ing a mo­bile App to book their ac­com­mo­da­tion dou­bling from 2014 to 2015, and we an­tic­i­pate this to con­tinue ris­ing year on year.

Our anal­y­sis re­veals that those who booked via a mo­bile App were seen to be ha­bit­ual users, with one in four (24 per cent) say­ing they would usu­ally book via this chan­nel. But what was most in­ter­est­ing was that Con­nected Trav­ellers were twice as likely as global trav­ellers to make trav­el­re­lated book­ings via their mo­bile de­vice. Al­most 45 per cent of these savvy mo­bile trav­ellers also use their smart­phones to book ac­tiv­i­ties for their trip, while only 28 per cent of global trav­ellers do so.

The mo­bile phe­nom­e­non has also en­abled these 'Con­nected Trav­ellers' to use their smart­phones whilst on their trip – turn­ing their de­vices into real-time travel com­pan­ions that they can turn to at any point. Forty four per cent said they brought them on trips to or­gan­ise them­selves more ef­fi­ciently and even to book ac­com­mo­da­tions on the go (37 per cent). 72 per cent of these savvy trav­ellers also used their smart­phones to search for restau­rants; 67 per cent to find things to do and 64 per cent to read re­views. This has given us a pow­er­ful way to con­nect di­rectly with the trav­eller, de­liv­er­ing more value to both our users whilst on-thego and help­ing them dis­cover and en­joy the places that they visit, mak­ing their trips spe­cial. Con­nected travel will con­tinue to be at the fore­front of travel and the in­dus­try should con­tinue to look at ways to fur­ther en­able the travel dis­cov­ery of this group of trav­ellers. I, for one, am cer­tainly look­ing for­ward to all the amaz­ing things that my ‘best friend’ will be able to do for me and my trav­els in the fu­ture.

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